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Ocon delivers safety warning over potential F1 rule change

Ocon delivers safety warning over potential F1 rule change

Ocon delivers safety warning over potential F1 rule change

Ocon delivers safety warning over potential F1 rule change
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Alpine driver Esteban Ocon has warned of safety issues that would arise if F1 pushed through with a ban on tyre blankets for 2024.

Teams tested Pirelli's 2023 prototype tyres at a reduced temperature of the blankets at the United States Grand Prix in October with a view to a complete ban in 15 months' time.

The idea is to reduce energy consumption across the grid as F1 aims to hit carbon neutrality by the end of the decade.

Drivers, however, complained about the ability to switch on the compounds when leaving the pits at the Circuit of the Americas, with double world champion Max Verstappen predicting "a lot of crashes" should the rule change be ratified.

Offering his thoughts, Ocon said: "We tested it in Austin which was quite a warm weekend.

"It’s a high-energy track and we were improving every lap but we were very far off the pace on the out lap. It was like being on ice in the first couple of corners.

“So it is not the Formula 1 philosophy, let’s say. You can forget the undercut, you can forget any strategy calls because you will take three or four laps to warm up the tyres so it is quite boring.

“And especially for safety on a weekend like Spa where it is 12 degrees or 10 degrees, it is just not going to be safe to start with."

But insisting the Italian tyre manufacturer would find a suitable solution, Ocon added: “I’m sure Pirelli will find a way to get this thing to work if we keep the non-blankets rule in, but at the moment we didn’t test something that was working.

“And next year, we revert back to 70 degrees for two hours so that is working. It is going to be similar to this year.

"If we keep testing things that are so slippery like this at the start of the lap, I am sure that the FIA will revert to how it was this year if they can’t do it.”

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